No matter where you live the combination of a crushed home market in addition to a failing economy has meant fewer people are buying homes both new and pre-owned.
When this happens the value of your home is also likely to suffer but did you also notice that your taxes are going up disproportionally to the actual value of your home?
A new national study shows that as prices for homes have fallen since 2007 and more dramatically after 2008 local municipalities and school districts have been increasing the cost to live in your home. On average the value of your home fell 18% while your tax assessment remained the same. That means in some locations home owners are paying 74% higher taxes then they should be even if you do not take into account rising taxes. On a national average that percentage is slightly lower at 40% to 60% of tax overpayment simply due to homes not being valued by taxing authorities at current values.
Add to this the fact that School Districts and Local Governments have increased their percentage of tax by 7% every year for the past 5 years or a total of 35% in a National poll and home owners are paying more then could ever be justified.
Since Property Taxes are 75% of all revenue collected by local governments it is important to understand just what your rights are as a home owner.
In a case just outside of Philadelphia, PA a wealthy family moved into a mansion on the Main Line that was valued at just under 10 million dollars for property tax reasons but because the value of the home was approximately 6 million dollars the home owner took his battle to court and won. This single property owner forced the reassessment of homes across the state which resulted in some home owners paying higher taxes on homes that had undervalued assessments and very few paying lower taxes.
The result of the case in Philadelphia would be contrary to what has happened today. In the current market almost all homes are overvalued and local municipalities are not welcoming the idea of lowering the assessment because that would mean cuts in their budgets.
Since more then 60% of the United States local government organizations use the current value vs another method to calculate the cost of your taxes this could effect a large portion of the country.
Proponents of reassessment say that simply changing the cost based on home values is not enough. Many point to unfair practices where people who raise children must pay school taxes for many decades while their children only make use of schools for 13 years from K-12. In addition there are younger families that do not have children or people who are single who pay their entire lives for a service they feel they should not be made to contribute to at such a high level.
Saying if a person has children they should be forced to pay a tax that is relative to their use of the system. Then when their children are grown the tax for school facilities should be no more then 10%. This is probably good reasoning and does not even account for the families that send their children to private schools with no reimbursement. However if a person has no children the meaning of reducing taxes is more apparent.
Although parents with school age children should not be forced to pay 100% of the bill to educate their child persons without children should not be paying an equal amount as the family down the street with 6 kids.
If you are a senior citizen you may be able to find some relief and county taxes are often reduced. However if you are unemployed, underemployed or if you simply have no children living in your home … whether they are living with a divorced spouse somewhere across the country or you just never had any… there is no regress in the courts to reduce your taxes.
Because this injustice accounts for 300 Billion dollars of over taxation and results in a slowing of the economy it is time that the use of services be more stringently linked to taxation. At the very least this will promote a better school system and at best it may help some people hold on to their homes in these tough times.
This is simply taxation without consideration.